Sheree Hooker describes herself as a, “clueless Brit seeking adventure” on her travel blog, Winging The World. She says she finds the world ‘terrifying’ and spends most of her time wandering from one place to another without a clue what she’s doing! So I was intrigued to find out how she’d managed in China – one of the most confusing places in the world for a British traveller.
Sheree told me her trip didn’t start well after deciding to base herself in one of the most out-of-the-way and untouristy places in the country. “I went to Wuhan,” she explained. “I don’t really know why I chose it. It’s a massive city – bigger than London – about fifteen hours from either Beijing or Shanghai. And there’s not a lot there. There weren’t many people who could speak English, so I was really jumping feet first into something I had absolutely no idea about!”
Sheree spent time exploring this fascinating country and says the capital Beijing, was her favourite place to visit. “It was so eye-opening,” she told me, although her trip didn’t go without incident. “We tried to check in to our hotel but they didn’t have our booking. Then they led us to a room, past lots of other rooms with no floors – it was just cement. Then they said the toilet doesn’t work – you’ll have to go outside. And the shower doesn’t work. And the window doesn’t close. They gave us some towels – which were wet. I was just thinking, ‘where the hell am I?’”
The famous Forbidden City in Beijing was a highlight of the trip, although Sheree said it was a tiring experience. “The architecture is absolutely beautiful but I must admit, as you’re seeing more and more temples, you get to the point where you’re a bit drained. So you need to mix it up a bit and go to a market and then come back. If not, you can become numb to the stuff you’re seeing.”
And of course, the other big attraction is the Great Wall of China. Sheree says she decided to avoid the usual tourist bus trips, and get there under her own steam. But she soon had second thoughts about the cheap taxi she found. “We were in the car on the way to the wall, really excited, and my friend dropped his phone under the seat,” explained Sheree. “He went to pick it up, and suddenly turned round to look at me with the most horrendous look in his eyes. Then saw his foot move and he pushed out a machete from under the seat. At this point I thought, ‘Oh my god, we’re going to die!’”
But Sheree lived to tell the tale and said she enjoyed the Great Wall, including a really unusual activity that she took part in. “The personal highlight for me was doing the toboggan ride down. That was really fun. And I remember thinking halfway through, if I get back to this Chinese man’s car, and if he does slice me to bits, at least this is what I’m going out on. I’ve just tobogganed down the Great Wall.”
You can read more about Sheree’s adventures in China and around the globe at WingingTheWorld.com.